Wednesday, March 27, 2013

10 Home Decorating Mistakes to Avoid

Written by Meaghan Maess, Buffalo State College student and communications intern at Catholic Health

Choosing home decor for your living space can be an intimidating task. You want a space that reflects your personality while still serving a functional purpose. With so many options to choose from, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Avoid these 10 common mistakes and you can have a space that’s both attractive and useable.

1. Working Without A Plan

Reading nook, Source: Apartment Therapy

Before you embark on any design project, consider how you want to live in your home. Do you want a quiet reading nook where you can wrap up in a blanket and spend hours reading uninterrupted? Do you want to host friends and family for game nights? What about an office where you can fire up your laptop without the distractions of TV?

Let yourself daydream about your ideal space without letting space or budget issues constrain you.
Once you've defined the priorities for your home, brainstorm how you can realistically achieve your goals. If you don't have the square footage for the art studio you've always wanted, consider setting up shop on a smaller scale. Can you create a mini-studio in the office or living room?

Take measurements of your space, then put pen to paper and create a floor plan. Plan ahead where you want to place furniture and other items. You might want to include doorways, windows and electrical outlets in your plan.

2. Shopping Without a Budget

Set a budget before you begin and prioritize what you want or need the most.

"I try to purchase from locally-owned shops and artisans that have a reputation for value-based products and great customer service," says Nicole Milley, interior designer and owner of Nikki M Design. "Items can be purchased at a lower cost without compromising the integrity of the design."
Nicole's favorite shops are White Orchard Home Furnishings, Room, TJ Maxx and Pier One.

It may take a little searching, but you can also find great pieces at second-hand stores such as Amvets or the Salvation Army. The money saved can be spent on paint or upholstery to customize your furniture and make it truly unique to your style.

3. Fearing Color

Simple ways to add color to your room, Source: Houzz, Home Decor Adventures

"People tend to fear color and because of that, they tend to choose white or beige colors," says Nicole.

"If color scares you, then start smaller. An easy, cost effective way to add color to a room is with toss pillows, throws, lamps, lampshades, and artwork."

Choose colors that you like or feel comfortable with. Focus on three different colors: a dominant color, a secondary color and an accent color. If you have an item you really love, use it for inspiration and apply the colors from that item throughout the whole space.

4. Lacking Personality

Small groupings of items, Source: Nikki M Design

Your home should be a reflection of you and your personal style.

"Bring your personality into the space by arranging a couple of family photos or keepsakes in a grouping," Nicole says. "Keep the groupings minimal and vary the sizes of the objects to create visual interest."

5. Preventing Conversation

Your main living area should enable your family and guests to sit face-to-face and talk – not shout from across the room. Don’t push your seating against the walls but arrange it in a grouping that makes intimate conversation possible.

Consider traffic patterns, and arrange your furniture so that you can walk around the conversation area, not through it.

6. Crowding a Space with Oversized Furniture

Don't try to crowd several pieces of large furniture into a small space. You want to be able to move easily throughout the room. For example, in a dining room, chairs should be placed far enough away from the wall so that you don't have to squeeze in to sit down.

Measure your floor space before you shop and carry measuring tape in your purse so that you can measure furniture before you buy.

7. Having Too Much Clutter

Avoid the tendency to fill a space to capacity. Empty space gives the eye a chance to rest and allows other objects to shine. In a home with too much clutter, each object competes with the other for attention.

Keep flat surfaces clear for a clean, uncluttered look.

8. Separating Pairs

Keeping things balanced and symmetrical can give your home a more pulled together look and make things feel less chaotic and more peaceful.

Follow the "rule of pairs." Keep couples together instead of separating identical items in different rooms. Balance them by keeping them at opposite ends of the same space.

9. Hanging Decorations at the Wrong Height

Curtains and wall decorations hung at the same level, Source: Home Decor Adventures 

When hanging your artwork, take into consideration the height of other objects in the room. You want to avoid what Lauri Ward, author of Use What You Have Decorating, calls the “roller coaster effect.” Stand in the center of your room and look at each of the items against your walls, one by one. Ask yourself if your eye is being drawn up or down by the differing heights of furniture, artwork, doors and windows. If this visual line resembles a roller coaster, rearrange your d├ęcor to minimize the highs and lows.

The general rule is that eye level is best when hanging artwork. Artwork should not be higher than the door frame, and the bottom edge should be six inches from the top of any furniture.

10. Not Making the Most of Your Space

Mood lighting creates the right atmosphere

For small spaces, practical, multi-functional pieces work best.

"If you have a room that needs to function as an office and a dining room, the best pieces to have in that room might be a larger armoire or buffet that can hold both business needs and dining needs," Nicole says. "The right table can function as a dining table and a desk."

If you are using a space for multiple functions, consider mixing different types of lighting.

"Task lighting mixed with mood lighting will be important to create the appropriate atmosphere for different activities," Nicole says.

For more design tips and inspiration, check out Nicole's blogs Nikki M Design and Under the Spaghetti Tree.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Ask Us Anything: What Should A First Aid Kit Include?

"I want to put together a first aid kit in case of emergencies. What should it include?"

Beth Nicastro, Corporate Nurse Educator, Responds:

To be prepared for emergencies, keep a first aid kit in your home and in your car. Check the kit regularly. Make sure that the flashlight batteries work, and check expiration dates and replace any used or out-of-date contents.

Include any personal items, such as medications and emergency phone numbers. 

The Red Cross recommends that all first aid kits for a family of four include the following:
  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • 1 blanket (space blanket)
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  • Scissors
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers
  • First aid instruction booklet

– Beth Nicastro  

Ginny Lyons, RN, Adds: 

You may also want to include hand sanitizer, Q-tips, a small pen light, a CPR mask (with guidelines) and safety pins.

Keep a small bottle of water in your kit, along with a small bottle of sterile water.

You can add smelling salts, insect wipes, dry ice and small slings.

Instead of starting from scratch, you can purchase kits already filled and add items as needed.

Good luck! It's a good idea to always be prepared. 

– Ginny Lyons

About Our Experts

Beth Nicastro, PNP-BC

Beth Nicastro, PNP-BC, is a women's health community coordinator/educator. She also sees patients as a nurse practitioner at East Aurora Pediatrics.

Ginny Lyons, RN

Ginny Lyons, RN is a coordinator for Catholic Health's women's service line, WomenCare, a nurse clinician in Women's Health, a community health educator and a public health speaker for Catholic Health on wellness and prevention seminars.

If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

10 Ways to Get Outside This Spring

Written by Meaghan Maess, Buffalo State College student and communications intern at Catholic Health

After a long, cold winter, most Western New Yorkers welcome the warm weather of spring. Here are 10 activities to help you get outdoors and enjoy the new season. 

1. Plant a Garden

Give your yard a make-over by planting colorful flowers or save money by growing your own herbs and vegetables. You can get inspired and learn more about gardening through organizations such as The Botanical Gardens and Urban Roots.

2. Take a Walk on the Beach (Blasdell)

Walk along the water at Woodlawn Beach off Route 5. Write your name in the sand, collect seashells and driftwood or skip rocks along the lake.

3. Bike or Rollerblade (Tonawanda)

Bring your bike or rollerblades to Niawanda Park. The park has nearly 7 miles of paths along the Niagara River, stretching from North Tonawanda to the Grand Island bridge.

4. Have a Cookout (Orchard Park)

Take advantage of the family picnic grills at Chestnut Ridge, then explore the many trails throughout the park. If you're feeling adventurous, check out the Eternal Flame, a natural gas spring below a waterfall in the southwestern section of Chestnut Ridge.

5. Experience Nature (Buffalo)

Observe local wildlife in their natural habitat at Tifft Nature Preserve. Nature trails take you through 5 miles of woodlands, ponds and marshes. 

6. Have a Picnic (Akron)

Pack some sandwiches and have a picnic at Akron Falls. Check out the rock garden and hike along the trails throughout the park.

7. Go Shopping (Allentown)

Walk along Elmwood Avenue and shop at the many stores in the Allentown District. Check out unique shops such as Second Chic, Lexington Co-Op and Penzey's Spices.

8. Read a Book Outside (Buffalo)

Grab a good book and a blanket and head to Delaware Park. Read beside the Rose Garden or take a walk around Hoyt Lake.

9. Volunteer

Enjoy the outdoors and help your community. Help plant vegetables to feed Buffalo families through Queen City Farm or plant trees with Re-Tree WNY. Check out Volunteer Buffalo for more volunteer opportunities in Western New York.

10. Explore Niagara Falls

Walk through Three Sisters Island and get a great view of the rapids of the Niagara River or check out the whirlpool rapids at Devil's Hole.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Ask Us Anything: Is My Discharge Normal?

"Since July, I've been experiencing a thick white/yellowish discharge. It's almost the consistency of gel. It began occurring after I was treated for a yeast infection. The yeast infection cleared up and the discharge lessened, but it remained a thick consistency. Is this normal?"

Ginny Lyons, RN, Responds: 

Is there any odor involved? Are you using any type of vaginal creams? Are you sexually active? Is there any pain or itching? If no to all, it is probably the normal flora of the lining.

However, just to be sure, I would see your gynecologist. Depending on your age and sexual activity, you may need to have a pap smear, a sample of cells from the cervical area that are then looked at under the microscope for evaluation.

– Ginny Lyons

Ginny Lyons, RN is a coordinator for Catholic Health's women's service line, WomenCare, a nurse clinician in Women's Health, a community health educator and a public health speaker for Catholic Health on wellness and prevention seminars.

If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How to Baby-Proof Your Marriage

Written by Meaghan Maess, Buffalo State College student and communications intern at Catholic Health

Adding a child to your household has a significant effect on your marriage. By knowing what to expect, you can ease your transition into parenthood.

Here are some common challenges that parents face in adding a new baby to their household, along with their possible solutions.

Sleepless Nights

You and your spouse will be sleeping a lot less with a newborn in the house. Infants usually sleep 3 to 4 hours at a time and need to be fed every 2 to 4 hours.

Make a Sleep Plan

Decide in advance how you and your spouse will care for the baby at nighttime. Will you take turns waking up for feedings or to comfort the baby when he or she cries? You may also want to work out a nap schedule, so neither of you feels guilty for catching up on sleep when you can.

More Laundry and Dishes

You will probably change your baby 2 or 3 times a day. Expect to do about 6 loads of laundry each week. You will also have to wash bottles each time you use them. These chores will have to be done quickly, so you have enough supplies when you need them.

Schedule Housework

You might want to make a "chore list" for you and your spouse, so neither one of you feel as if you are doing more of the work. Also, remember to thank each other for helping out and doing their share of the work.

Differences in Parenting Styles

Even if you and your spouse have the same parenting philosophy, you may disagree when it comes to specific decisions about discipline, feeding and sleeping patterns. For example, how do you respond when your baby starts crying?

Discuss Parenting

Talk about parenting now. Make sure that you agree about how you will raise your baby. If necessary, work out compromises and let each other deal with the consequences of their own methods. Read parenting books so you know basic guidelines to follow and discuss these with your spouse.

More Time Together

You and your spouse will be spending a lot more time together, instead of pursuing separate activities. With a newborn in your household, you’ll have less (if any) time to read a book or go to the gym.

Spend time apart

Set up an agreement that lets you and your spouse spend some time away from each other and the baby. Make sure that you are on the same page so that neither of you feel resentful if the other goes out with friends or spends time alone.

No Alone Time

Although you and your spouse will be together more often, you'll rarely be by yourselves. Most of your time will be spent caring for your baby.

Have date nights

Consider lining up babysitters or family members now so that you and your spouse can have time together without the baby. On your date, you might want to set aside the first ten minutes to discuss your baby and use the rest of your time together to talk about unrelated things. 

Strained Finances

You probably won't feel financially secure with a baby. Parents often feel overwhelmed about money. If you or your spouse is staying home with the newborn, you will have a change in income as well. Learn more about the costs associated with a new family member in Can You Afford A Newborn?

Test your Income

If you or your spouse is thinking about staying home with the baby, try to live on only one income for a few months while you are both still working. Then make a decision if you can live on one income. Keep in mind that there are a lot of extra expenses with a newborn.

Discuss Finances

Try to save as much money as you can before having a baby. Testing your income, as mentioned above, is one way to build a savings nest.

Talk to your spouse about what you can and can't live without and what is most important to you as a family. Make decisions about finances together.

Feelings of Resentment or Guilt

Feeling as though your partner isn’t doing his or her share of the work can lead to resentment. If one parent is staying home while the other is working, the stay-at-home parent may develop feelings of guilt and try to compensate by doing more work around the house.

Seek Support of Others 

Talk to your family and friends now about what you will be going through and how they can help you and your spouse. Also, know that you are not alone. Many websites such as What To Expect and Baby Center offer resources and forums where parents can talk with others who are going through the same thing.

Increased Presence of Grandparents

New grandparents will probably want lots of time with the baby. They may show up often and unannounced. Grandparents might be resentful or feel threatened by in-laws. 

Set Boundaries

Talk to the future grandparents now and set up times when they can come over to spend time with the baby. Also, ask your spouse to talk to their parents if boundaries are crossed.

Change in Lifestyle

Once you have a baby, you won't be able to spend time with friends as much. You and your spouse will probably have to cut back on eating out, going to the movies and taking vacations. Your finances may also not allow you to buy as many luxury items.


Consider limiting luxury items now as a test of what you can and can't live without. Talk to each other about what items are important to you. You may have to compromise or go without a luxury item you want. When you do spend money on luxury items, make sure it's something that both of you can enjoy. Discuss setting up dates with friends now so you can spend time with them once the new baby comes without feeling guilty.

Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression

According to Horizon Health Services, it is not uncommon for women to feel sad after the birth of their baby because of the sudden hormone change that occurs. These feelings should go away within 10-14 days. If they don't, it may be postpartum depression, which can affect 10 to 15% of women.

Get Help

Be aware that you may experience some sadness after birth. If you think you might experience postpartum depression or other challenges associated with the birth of a baby, contact Horizon Health Services at (716) 831-1800.

Although bringing a child into your home requires an adjustment in your lifestyle and routines, proper planning can ensure that you and your partner don't feel overwhelmed or at odds with one another; in fact, your relationship may be stronger than ever.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Ask Us Anything: What Can I Do to Lessen My Chances of Getting Diabetes?

"I have a long family history of diabetes. What can I do to lessen my chances of getting diabetes?"

Registered Dietitian Deborah Richter Responds:

First, it is important that we review the risk factors for developing Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.

The American Diabetes Association has a short test that you could take that identifies your risk. Go to to take the test to assess your current risk.

The risk factors are:
  • being overweight
  • having high blood pressure (at or above 130/80mmHg)
  • family history of diabetes
  • having diabetes during pregnancy or having a baby weighing more than nine pounds at birth
Additionally diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

So what can you do to reduce the risk of developing diabetes?
  • Keep or get your weight in control
  • Stay active most days of the week
  • Eat lower fat meals that are high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Contact your health care provider right away if you become very thirsty, urinate often and start to lose weight without trying.
We hear the messages all the time to lose weight and exercise more, but it does not have to be overwhelming to start to make small changes that can improve your health.

Start by eating breakfast if you don’t already. Include lean protein foods at this meal: egg whites, Canadian bacon, 1% cottage cheese, omega eggs, natural peanut butter, or eat leftover lean meat from the night before.

Add a small fresh fruit to the lunch meal and pack some cucumbers, raw carrots, peppers or other vegetables that you enjoy. Or take some lower sodium vegetable soup that helps to fill you up and increases your vegetable intake.

For dinner, use the plate method: fill half the plate with steamed vegetables and add a salad. Try using an 8” plate so with the smaller portions the plates does not look so empty.

Take caution with beverages since many of the popular beverages have over 200 calories for 12 ounces. For snacks, try some of the delicious whole grain tortilla chips with ¼ cup salsa or hummus. Do not try and lose a lot of weight in a short time. The goal is sustained weight loss.
Increasing physical activity can also be easy to implement.
  • Take a short walk during your lunch break.
  • Get up 10 minutes early and take a 10 minute walk or do some resistance training with light hand weights or resistance bands.
  • Play outside in the afternoon with the kids or grandkids, or just be a kid yourself and play tag with a friend, throw the Frisbee around, or turn up the music loud and dance for two or three songs.
Once you start moving more and find that it increases your energy, it is motivating to want to move more. I know with Buffalo winters it can be easy to get home and snuggle up with a blanket and the TV remote, but resist that tendency and join an exercise class at the local adult education courses, the YMCA or other fitness clubs in the area. Just get up and move!

Aim for 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. Children need to aim for 60 minutes of physical play per day.

Additional resources include:
— Deborah Richter, RD, CDE

Deborah Richter is a registered dietitian at Sisters of Charity Hospital, St. Joseph Campus in Cheektowaga and is a certified diabetes educator. She teaches diabetes education classes and provides outpatient nutrition counseling. She has helped her clients to lose weight, reduce their blood pressure and feel better about themselves through healthy eating choices.

If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Can You Afford A Newborn?

Written by Meaghan Maess, Buffalo State College student and communications intern at Catholic Health

Before you get pregnant, ask yourself if you and your spouse are able to support a baby financially. Experts recommend saving $5,000 to $10,000 for expenses and financial emergencies such as loss of a job.

To help you estimate the impact of a baby on your finances, we’ve tallied up the costs of basic items that you’ll need to care for your newborn. Keep in mind that these figures are estimates and don’t include the cost of labor and delivery or follow-up visits with your pediatrician.

One-time Expenses

  • $2,921 if breastfeeding

Note that if you’re breastfeeding and staying at home with your baby, you may opt for a hand breast pump, which is around $20 ($165 less than the pump included in this estimate).
  • $2,606 not breastfeeding

CategoryItemItem CostSourceCost
BeddingBassinet or Co-sleeper sheets (2)$8.99 Babies 'R Us$17.98
BeddingReceiving Blankets - 5 pk.$12.99 Babies 'R Us$12.99
BeddingSwaddling Blankets - 3 pk. (3)$24.99 Babies 'R Us$74.97
BeddingCrib Sheet (2)$5.98 Babies 'R Us$11.96
BreastfeedingNursing Bra (4)$17.50 Babies 'R Us$70.00
BreastfeedingLanolin cream - 1.41 oz $9.99 Wegmans$9.99
BreastfeedingTravel Nursing Pillow$49.99 Baby's Sweet Beginnings$49.99
BreastfeedingBreast Pumps$185.00 Baby's Sweet Beginnings$185.00
ClothingAnti-Scratching Mittens - 3 pk.$4.99 Babies 'R Us$4.99
ClothingBaby Hats (5)$6.98 Babies 'R Us$34.90
FeedingBottles - 3pk. (4)$3.49 Wegmans$13.96
FeedingNipple Brush for Bottle$2.49 Wegmans$2.49
FeedingBibs (10)$1.98 Babies 'R Us$19.80
FeedingBurp Cloths - 3 pk. (5)$5.99 Babies 'R Us$29.95
FurnitureCrib$186.99 Babies 'R Us$186.99
FurnitureCrib Mattress$139.99 Babies 'R Us$139.99
FurnitureCrib Mattress Protector Liner$14.99 Babies 'R Us$14.99
FurnitureBassinet or Co-sleeper$149.99 Babies 'R Us$149.99
FurnitureChanging Table$179.99 Babies 'R Us$179.99
FurnitureChanging Table Pad$17.98 Babies 'R Us$17.98
FurnitureChanging Table Pad Cover (2)$11.98 Babies 'R Us$23.96
FurnitureHigh Chair$152.99 Babies 'R Us$152.99
FurnitureDresser$319.99 Babies 'R Us$319.99
HealthAdvil Infant Fever$4.99 Wegmans$4.99
HealthBaby Orajel gel $4.99 Wegmans$4.99
HealthTeether (2)$6.99 Wegmans$13.98
HealthThermometer$15.00 Babies 'R Us$15.00
HygeineBaby Bather$19.99 Babies 'R Us$19.99
HygeineDiaper rash ointment - 4 oz$4.99 Wegmans$4.99
HygeineDiaper Pail $19.99 Babies 'R Us$19.99
HygeineAquaphor Skin Ointment - 3 oz$6.99 Wegmans$6.99
HygeineWashcloth - 8 pk.$5.99 Babies 'R Us$5.99
HygeineTowel - 2 pk. (3)$9.99 Babies 'R Us$29.97
Misc.Pack-and-play$169.99 Babies 'R Us$169.99
Misc.Infant Ear Syringe$2.99 Wegmans$2.99
Misc.Swing$90.08 Babies 'R Us$90.08
Misc.Pacifiers - 2 ct. (3)$3.99 Wegmans$11.97
Misc.Baby Monitor (Audio)$59.99 Babies 'R Us$59.99
Misc.Gym$39.99 Babies 'R Us$39.99
Misc. Crib Mobile or Musical Soother $49.99 Babies 'R Us$49.99
Misc. Bumbo Seat $44.99 Babies 'R Us$44.99
ToyRattle$3.99 Babies 'R Us$3.99
ToyKeys$5.99 Babies 'R Us$5.99
ToyPlush$9.99 Babies 'R Us$9.99
ToyBouncy Seat$59.99 Babies 'R Us$59.99
ToyBlocks $9.99 Babies 'R Us$9.99
TravelStroller$179.99 Babies 'R Us$179.99
TravelCar Seat (2)$118.99 Babies 'R Us$237.98
TravelDiaper Bag$31.99 Babies 'R Us$31.99
TravelBaby Carrier$59.00 Baby's Sweet Beginnings$59.00

Monthly Expenses

Your monthly expenses depend to a large extent on daycare. The choice of breastfeeding vs. formula also affects your monthly cost.
  • Breastfeeding with daycare: $1,255
  • Breastfeeding without daycare: $375
If you’re a stay-at-home mom and are breastfeeding, your total will be a little less, as you won't need to buy as many storage bags and bottles.
  • Formula with daycare: $1,384
  • Formula without daycare: $504

See the breakdown below:

CategoryItemItem CostSourceCost/Month
BreastfeedingBreastmilk storage bags - 25 ct. (2)$5.99 Wegmans$11.98
BreastfeedingNursing Pads - 60 ct. $4.79 Wegmans$4.79
ChildCareDay Care$220 Creative Play Learning Center$880.00
ClothingBody Suits - 4 pk. (2, every 2 months)$8.99 Babies 'R Us$8.99
ClothingSocks - 6 pk. (2, every 2 months)$5.99 Babies 'R Us$5.99
ClothingOuterwear (every 2 months)$16.98 Babies 'R Us$8.49
ClothingBaby Pants/Shirts Outfits (8, every 2 months)$14.98 Babies 'R Us$59.92
FeedingFormula - 90 fl oz (2) $16.99 Wegmans$135.92
HygeineVaseline - 3.75 oz (7)$1.99 Wegmans$55.72
HygeineDiapers - 31 ct. (3)$8.99 Wegmans$107.88
HygeineWipes - 72 ct. (4)$1.99 Wegmans$31.84
HygeineAll natural Laundry Detergent - 33 loads$8.49 Wegmans$8.49
HygeineDiaper Pail Liner Refills - 32 pk. (2)$19.99 Babies 'R Us$39.98
HygeineBaby Shampoo - 15 fl. Oz.$2.99 Wegmans$2.99
HygeineBaby wash - 28 fl. Oz.$5.29 Wegmans$5.29
HygeineBaby oil - 14 fl. Oz.$2.99 Wegmans$2.99
HygeineBaby Lotion - 3 oz. (2)$6.99 Wegmans$13.98
Misc.Prenatal Vitamins - 90 ct. (every 3 months)$9.99 Wegmans$3.33
Misc.Books (every 3 months)$7.99 Babies 'R Us$2.66

Grand Total

Cost for First Month12-month Cost
With daycare$4,176 $17,985
Without daycare$3,296 $7,425
With daycare$3,990 $19,215
Without daycare$3,110 $8,655

Forecasted out to 12 months, the cost of formula surpasses the cost of breastfeeding by over $1,000. Not to mention, breastfeeding is healthier for your baby, results in a faster recovery for mom and gets you back to your pre-baby weight sooner (See 5 Reasons Why You Should Breastfeed).

If these numbers seem high, remember that baby showers and shopping for used furniture and clothing can help to offset costs.

Other Considerations

Besides saving money, there are several things you should do to make sure your finances are in order before pregnancy.

Review Insurance Plans

Some health insurance plans charge additional fees for adding another person to the plan. Check with your provider to see what their policies are and what is covered. Also, make sure that you have adequate life and disability insurance to make sure your family will be provided for in case the unthinkable happens.

Make a Plan for Employment

The Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees new parents their jobs and health insurance for 12 weeks during unpaid leave. Check with your employer about their maternity or paternity policies and see if they have any added benefits.

If you or your spouse is considering staying home to care for the newborn permanently, decide if your family can afford to live on one income.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Ask Us Anything: How Can I Break My Addiction to Coffee?

"How can I break my addiction to coffee? What are some healthier alternatives that will still provide energy?"

Ginny Lyons, RN, Responds: 

Start by elimination. Coffee has caffeine and if you are addicted as you say, your consumption must be high.

Hot chocolate, green tea, cranberry, apple, grapefruit or V-8 juice are alternatives, providing you watch the sugar and sodium content. A breakfast of cereal, fruit and yogurt can give you energy and that needed morning kick start.

Remember when decreasing and eliminating caffeine that you can experience temporary side effects such as headaches, jitters, fatigue, and nervousness. These will decrease as the body gets used to and accepts caffeine withdrawal.

Good luck. Reduce your caffeine intake, and I am sure you will feel a lot healthier.

– Ginny Lyons

Beth Nicastro, Corporate Nurse Educator, Adds:

Eight out of 10 adults are habitual coffee drinkers.

Caffeine, a compound in coffee, is considered a mildly addictive stimulant by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It increases alertness, improves cognitive function and produces slight increases in blood pressure and heart rate. People who stop drinking coffee frequently experience headaches, fatigue, decreased alertness, irritability and depression within 12 to 24 hours.

The health benefits are currently under scientific debate. For some patients, caffeine is not advised due to one’s medication use or personal medical history.

Caffeine’s effects vary from person to person. Some people note an energy boost while others may feel jittery and nervous.

Many herbs and teas provide natural alternatives to caffeine. In addition to energy enhancement, they may benefit overall wellness, according to natural health expert, Andrew Weil, M.D. Since natural stimulants may cause side effects, a physician’s guidance is recommended prior to their use.

When a person complains of not enough energy, it is key to look at ones’s diet. Is it high in carbohydrates and simple sugars? Are you getting enough protein? These things can lead to blood sugar crashes.

It is recommended to have 3 moderate sized meals with snacks as needed (usually in the afternoon) which includes a protein with all meals and snack to keep blood sugars regular and prevent fluctuations, which can cause fatigue.

Having some protein at breakfast is a must for maintaining energy in the morning, with or without coffee.

Snack ideas can be as simple as a yogurt, apple and peanut butter, veggies and hummus, handful of nuts, string cheese and crackers. These are all good carb/protein snack choices.

Taking a B Complex vitamin with B12 can help to keep your energy levels steady throughout the day.

If you have specific physical symptoms, it is advisable to see your healthcare provider and nutritionist for individual direction and advice. When speaking to your provider, report your medication use, caffeine intake, a complete diet history and any allergies. 

– Beth Nicastro

About Our Experts

Ginny Lyons, RN

Ginny Lyons, RN is a coordinator for Catholic Health's women's service line, WomenCare, a nurse clinician in women's health, a community health educator and a public health speaker for Catholic Health on wellness and prevention seminars.

Beth Nicastro, Nurse Practitioner

Beth Nicastro, PNP-BC, is a women's health community coordinator/educator. She also sees patients as a nurse practitioner at East Aurora Pediatrics.

If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.
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